Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World
This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in
the world byJSTOR.
Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries.
We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial
Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.istor.org/participate-istor/individuals/early-
JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please
Proceedings of the Society. cxix
The following iDreseuts were announced to have been received, and
thanks were given to the donors : —
Fob the Library.
From the Aoademy. — Trans., Royal Academy of Science, Denmark.
From the Editor. — Medical Press and Circular.
From the Authoe. — Kev. F. Fothergill Cooke, Authorship of the
practical Electric Telegraph.
From the Society. — Proceedings of the Roj'al Society, xvi, 98.
Anon. — Social-Juristische Studien, 5th Part.
From the Society. — Journal of the Eoyal Asiatic Society of Bengal,
Part i, No. 2, 1867.
From the Society. — Royal Society of Sciences of Saxony, Der Methode
d. Klemsten Quadrate. Berichte d. Math. Phj's. Classe 1866-67.
From the Editor. — Proceedings American Anthrop. Soc, 1867.
For the Museum.
From Dr. Cantow. — Skull of a Negro.
Mr. Dendy exhibited an egg-cup which he had extracted from the
ileum of a man after death, as illustrative of the great endurance of
The Rev. J. D. Wood exhibited two specimens of Indian manu-
facture which he considered very remarkable. One of them was an
ornament made from the gum jade of China, so extremely hard that it
only be cut by its own dust, and in the centre of it there was a disc
which had beeir cut out of the stone, so that it cou.ld rotate in its own
groove ; it was taken out of the private apartment of the Queen of
Oude, but what it was meant for he could not say ; it might be an
amulet. The other article was a dress, with legs and arms, made in
one piece, but so small that it was difficult to conceive how anj'
person could have gone into it.
Mr. Harris and Capt. Babington stated that it was a kind of dress
not uncommon on the west coast of Africa, and that such dresses were
worn by men as well as by girls and boys.
A jaw-bone, found in a Roman sewer in the city of London, was
contributed by Mr. Lyle.
A communication from Mr. Henry Smythies, of New Zealand, was
A paper on the Hovas of Madagascar, by Lieut. Oliver, was then
The island is situated at a distance of four hundred miles from the
coast of Africa, and would appear never to have been connected with
that continent. It is peopled by races as peculiar in their \^■ay as any
races can be, and offering very marked pre-eminence over the Negro.
They may be termed Oceanic rather than African. The general name
of Malag-asy has been given to the tribes, but to themselves they are
known only by their tribal names. There are no traces in Madagascar
of a jjrimseval civilisation ; but the Malagasy have considerably taught
oxx Jotirnal of the Anthropological Societt/.
themselves. They have domesticated oxen and pigs, and made some
progress in the cultivation of rice, yams, etc. Their religion is but
recent, having been invented by the tipper classes to control the lower.
They are, however, receptive of superstition. Their language possesses
a well-constructed grammar, but without written forms. There would
seem to be two special tyj)es of man in the island ; one marked by
small stature and a comparatively fair complexion (comprising the
Hovas, the Betanimena, and two other tribes) ; the other remarkable
for a larger structure and deep brown or even black skins. These
latter form the aboiiginal population. Although black, these are evi-
dently not Negroes proper, and even the dress of the Malagasy shows
that they have derived none of their ideas from the continent. The
population of tlie island is roughly stated at 5,300,000.
The physiognomy of the Hovas is Mongol, with affinities to the
Malays. They form, although the least numerous, the governing race,
and take the command of the army and administer the state. Though
small of stature they are well-proj)ortioned and graceful in carriage,
but they are not capable of great physical endurance. Their heads
are well-shaped, with high foreheads, marked intellectual capacity,
small, often aquiline nose. The hair of late years has been out short ;
the women wear their hair elaborately dressed. Gi'ey hair is carefully
pulled out. The complexion is olive. They are not natives of the
central province of Ankova, though they occupy it ; their original seat
is unknown. Next to them in intelligence rank the Betsimasaraka
and Betamina ; they are supposed to have arisen from the intermixture
of the aboriginals of the east coast and the remnants of an Arab colony.
The second division of the Malagasy population consists of the black
races ; they are taller, and very athletic. The Hovas for many years
paid tribute to the Sakalavas, until Eadama I. invaded their territory
and maiTied their chief's daughter. They still carry on a slaA^e trade
from the east coast of Africa, at the rate of four head of cattle for one
slave. Although the Hova claim the sovereignty of Madagascai', and
have made treaties with the Englisli as to the slave trade, they are
powerless to prevent the Sakalavas from carrying it on, as they have
only one station in the country of the latter. Lieutenant Oliver pro-
ceeded to enlarge upon many of the other tribes, and then spoke of
the existence of caste, of polygamy, and of the peculiar custom of
forcing the crows of vessels to pass one night with females of the
island before sujjph'ing the vessels with water, provisions, etc. He
also enumerated their jjunishmeuts and penalties, and spoke generally
of their singular habits and customs.
On the motion of the President, the thanks of the meeting were
unanimously given to Lieut. Oliver for the paper.
Lieut. Eardley Wilmot bore evidence to the truth of all the state-
ments in the paper, in which everything was stated rather under the
tact than exaggerated. The Hovas, he believed, were of Malay origin,
and they were difi'erent from the people of the surrounding tribes,
"^riiey bore no resemblance in features to African Negroes.
Dr. King stated some j>articulars relative to the ambassadors sent
Proceedings of the Society. cxxi
to this country from Madagascar, whom he had the opportunity of
observing, and of ascertaining from them individually what was the
character of tlie people. He believed those ambassadors to have been
decidedly of mongrel kinds, and that out of the six there was only one
who had an approximation to the African type. He could not trace
their langiiage to any source, nor tell where they came from. The
average appearance of menstruation is at fifteen years of age, and they
never produced offspring under that age.
Dr. EvBLEiGH said the paper conveyed much new matter of an im-
portant character. Mr. Jones had made different statements to him,
which confinned the descriptions given by Lieutenant Oliver. With
regard to the period of menstruation, alluded to by Dr. King, he said
he had been practising out of England for twenty-two years, and he
had known girls menstruate at eight, nine, and ten years of age, and
he had alluded to the confinement of a girl of thirteen. With regard
to the probability of Madagascar having been at one time connected with
Africa, he observed that copal gum grows all along the south west coast
of the island, and as the same product occurs on the opjJosite coast of
Africa, that fact seems to indicate a connection with the continent in
former times. Lichen and other vegetable i^roducts on the opposite
coasts seemed also to correspond. The language of the Gallas and
others of the African tribes seemed to be similar to that of the Hovas,
as was remai'kable in a peciiliar clich in the p)ronunoiation of certain
words. As regards the natural productions of the country, he be-
lieved the natives cultivated many things extensively. The rice they
produced was very good, and boiled peculiarly soft and white, being
in that respect quite unlike Patna rice. Copal gum might be col-
lected in Madagascar to almost any extent. With respect to the
eighteen thousand Christians said to be among the Hovas, he observed
that Mr. Jones estimated them, when he left the island, at one thou-
sand, but said that Eadahunia was anxious to introduce Christianity,
because, from the excellence of its moral doctrines, it was calculated
to do good. As to the Madagascans themselves, whenever he had exa-
mined them as a race, he had great difficidty in finding out their
origin. The Bachati tribe were particidarly mentioned, who seemed,
from the accounts of them, to be analogous to the Bushmen of South
Africa. Their stature was generally very short, not exceeding, in some
instances, four feet. Their knowledge of the arts extended to the
working in gold and silver, and they make straw baskets fitting inside
one another to the number of twelve, similar to those made by the
Hindoos ; and their manufactures seemed more likely to have been
introduced from India than from any other country. The slave trade,
which was practised to a great extent, was probably introduced from
Dr. Seemann thought there was some contradiction in that part of
the jjaper which referred to the remnants of ancient civilisation among
the Hovas, and on the comjsarison of them with the former occupants
of Nicaragua, for the latter exhibited a high degree of civilisation.
With regard to the origin of the Hovas, it appeared to him that they
v.'ere a Malay tribe, though in that opinion he knew he was opposed
cxxii Journal of the Anthropological Society.
to Mr. Crawfurd. There was an identity in the name of the cocoa-
nut, a jjahn endemic to America. AVith resjJect to the supposed nation
of dwarfs, lie thought they miglit be similar to tlie Andaman islanders,
who were of the Papuan race. There were many resemblances be-
tween the Hovas and the Polj'uesiaus, among which he instanced the
practice of taboo.
Mr. DfiKDr said he considered Lieutenant Oliver's paper one of the
most illustrative of any he had heard in that Society. He would,
however, confine his remarks on it chiefly to that portion which re-
ferred to nomenclature. The difference and confusion of terms fre-
quently used in speaking of different races tended much to retard the
progress of science. The term Negro, for instance, was applied to
several different races. Originally it was applied to every dark man
who came from Africa. He presented two sketches of crania from the
Mozambique, marked in a museum catalogue in London as Negroes,
which he said were most unlike the skull of a genuine African Negro,
a s|)ecimen of which he exhibited, which he believed was the finest
African skull in England. There was no similarity between it and
the skulls of Hovas, which had been produced, or his sketches, which
Lieutenant Oliver, in reply, pronounced to be Hovas. He thought it
was very desirable that they should not api^ly the term African Negro
to capriciously coloured races, but that the term should be confined
to the Negro of South Africa.
Dr. Wood asked Lieutenant Oliver what he meant when speaking
of the civilisation of the Madagascans. Some of the Indian tribes of
America were said to be civilised, but they produced nothing. Had
these pieople of Madagascar any manufactures *? The term civilisation
was generally very vaguely applied, and it ought in such instances to
be more defined.
Mr. Blyth thought more importance should be attached to the con-
sideration of the kinds of animals and plants in Madagascar as indica-
tions of the origin of the Hovas. The domestic kinds seemed to be
similar to those of India and of many parts of Western Africa. As
the Arabs had had intercourse with them for many years, he considered
it strange that Ai'ab influence and the Mahommedan creed were not
greater and more extended.
Mr. Lyle remarked, respecting the fact of early menstruation, that
he had known cases of menstruation in England at eleven and thirteen
years of age.
Professor Macdonald thought the Hova skull produced more like
the skulls of mountaineers in all parts of the world than the skull of
an African negro. He believed in the separate centres of creation of
the different races adapted to different parts of the world, and that
the coast and midland mountains had peculiar creations adapted to
them. He thought the general movement of the human races had
been from the east towards the west ; that the different races were
originally created in special centres ; that the Hovas originally be-
longed to the mountain races of Madagascar, having no connection
with the Malays or Negro races.
Mr. Walkbe expressed the opinion that the Hovas were of African
Proceedinga of tlie Society. oxxiii
origin, and that the Madagasoans generally came originally from
Mr. Mackenzie inquired whether Lieutenant Oliver had found
among the Madagasoans any of the blue-eyed females, of whom he had
read, and, if so, whether he had ascertained anything respecting their
origin 1 He also wished to know whether any of the peculiar double
bellows found in Sumatra and among soiue other savage tribes had
been seen in Madagascar. In his opinion the Hovas were not of
African origin, but Malay.
The Pbbsidbstt said that the Hova skull produced was considered
by some joersons to resemble that of the east African negro, but he
thought there was nothing about it to warrant that assumption. The
hair was a characteristic of African races. If the Hovas were of African
origin, he should expect to find that they had the crisp curly kind of
hair of the African negro, but it appeared from Lieutenant Oliver's
descrijjtion, that the hair of the Hovas was generally of a different
kind, and that only a few of them had curly hair. He thought it was
very desirable that they should have specimens of their hair, in order
to assist in forming an opinion of their origin. The jjaper was one
of the most important and interesting that could be brought before
any scientific bodj^
Lieutenant Oliver remarked, before addressing himself to answer
the numerous questions put to him, that his i3aj)er had originated
from questions put to him by the President of the Ethnological Society
at the late meeting of the British Association at Dundee, as to " the
comparison between the red men of America and the black men of
Africa as seen in Madagascar" of which he had been reminded in the
last number of the Anthropological Review. Now he wished to shew in
this paper that the Malagasy were widely distinct from the Negro or
black man of Africa.
In reply to Dr. King, he did not consider that the ambassadors
from Madagascar, either in 1835 or 1864, were select specimens of
the true Hova type, a-nd were possibly mongrel, but as a rule the
Hovas presented the characteristics of a jjure race, distinct from the
darker tribes surrounding them ; tlie question of the generation of in-
fants by parents at such an early age, as mentioned in the paper, had,
he thought, been sufficiently answered already that evening. He was
much struck with the j)regnant suggestion of Dr. Seemann that the
dwarf race of the Vazimba might be of Papuan origin, this can only
be corroborated by opening some of the tumuli and examining their
remains, which hitherto, owing to the jealous superstition of the
natives, has been impossible ; in exterior appearance and apiparent
construction only, they resembled the Nicaraguan barrows, with cen-
tral upright stone or pillar. With regard to the manner in which the
" taboo" was carried out, a pole with a small bundle of dried grass
attached to the top of it, was placed at the entrance of any enclosure
or building, which the idol-keepers might wish to preserve as sacred,
this was called a " hiady," and was quite sufficient to prohibit the
entrance of the vulgar herd. It is curious that the Malagasy, if of
Malay origin, should be such bad sailors, they having no sea-going
oxxiv Journal of the Anthrojpological Society.
native craft, and their pirogues in use on their lakes and rivers are
of the most primitive construction ; in this respect tliey are far inferior
to any known islanders throughout the world.
The skull, of which the drawing is exhibited as coming from
Mujamb's bay, is evidently the skull of a Hova, many of whom were
slain in the numerous affrays between them and the adjacent Sakal-
ai'as in the vicinity of their fort on the coast of Majumba Bay.
As to the state of civilisation to which they had advanced, he
would remind Dr. Wood that there was always a difficulty in defining
the exact state of civilisation to which any jjarticular race had at-
tained, indeed it is not so long since that the Russians were looked
upon by us as thorough barbarians. A writer in the Saturday Hevieiv at
the beginning of last year, took the author to task for terming the Mala-
gasy " half -civilised,"'"' because the young ladies at the capital dressed
in white muslin, and danced the lanoei-s, (he might here mention that
they danced not only the lancers but Sir Roger de Coverley, called by
them " coverlids," entering fully into the spirit of it.) But they had
advanced themselves to such a state of society that they possessed com-
fortable, well-built houses, farms, and a system of agrioultiu-e, they
domesticated cattle, held markets, had formed a code of laws, esta-
blished an army, and had their law-officers assisted by a police, they
levied taxes and customs, and had been lately fully recognised by at
least the English, French, and American governments.
With regard to their natural productions, from time immemorial
they had cultivated rice and the sugar-cane, which are indigenous ; in-
deed, it is stated on good authority, that rice and the sugai--cane were
first imported into Virginia from Madagascar ; the native cattle, under
domestication, possess humjss, but, curiously enough, the wild ones
did not, a fact worthy of the notice of Mr. Darwin. Their sheep
were fat-tailed and woolly, and made remarkably good mutton.
At to the copal gum. Dr. Meller, who accompanied the expedition
as naturalist, pointed out abundance of these trees along the coast,
and for several miles inland, up to a level of one thousand feet. They
grew to a large size, the trunk of one measured was twentj'-eight feet
in circumference, with an enormous spread in proi^ortion, and was
covered with fruit : there was but little collected by the natives, and
that Lieutenant Oliver believed w-as dug up If
It was very possible that the Mandingo and other West African
tribes might have similar Malay affinities to the Malagasy, and that
the Bushmen might have some obscure connexion with the dwarfed
Vazimba, and have a common Papuan origin. Mr. Wake had cer-
tainly pointed out some remarkable similarities. Professor Mac-
donald, on the other hand, would have them to believe that the
Hovas, being evidently mountaineers, had a separate and special
* The Ediiihiirgh Review of last October, in reviewing- Ellis's works, styles
the Malagasy as half civilised ! — S. P. O.
t On referring to Dr. Meller's report to the late Sir W. Hooker, it ap-
pears that he says, ""Very little gnm is collected; the natives incise the
bark, and fi.x bamboos to receive the gum."- — S. P. O.
Proceedings of the Society. oxxv
oreation and origin in the highlands of Aiiljova, in which he thonght
few could agree. In answer to Mr. Mackenzie, as to whether he had
observed any blue-eyed individuals in Madagascar, although Eochon
states some instances, he could give a decided negative in reply ; the
double bellows mentioned were in use throughout the mining district
south-east of Antananarivo. Finally, as to the question of their hair,
before leaving the country of the Hovas several young ladies had
presented him, and Mr. Eardley Wilmot also, he believed (assent from
Mr. Wilmot), with some little souvenirs of regard, in the shape of
neatly plaited locks of hair, and he hoped, at a future meeting, to
exhibit these to the Society.
Several diagrams were then exhibited and explained by Lieutenant
Oliver, and the meeting adjourned.
Mahoh 17th, 1868.
De. James Hunt, F.S.A., etc.. President, in the Chaib.
The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed.
Thomas R. Pinches, Esq., of 27, Oxenden Street, Haymarket, was
elected a Fellow. Professor Rudolph Virohow, of Berlin, was elected
an Honorary Fellow. M. Louis Leguay, of Paris, was elected a Cor-
The following presents, received since the last meeting, were an-
nounced, viz. : —
FOB THE LIBRARY.
From the Society — Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society.
From Kenneth E. H. Maokenzie, Esq., F.S.A., F.A.S.L. — Medical
Gymnastics. By Moritz Schreber, Esq., M.D.
From the Editor — The Farmers' Journal.
From the Editor — ^Medical Circular, March 4th.
From the Author — ^Ancient Faiths Embodied in Ancient Names. By
Thomas Inman, Esq., M.D.
From the Author — The Antiquity of Man in the South-west of
England. By W. Pengelly, Esq.
From the Author — The Geology of Devonshire. By W. Pengelly, Esq.
From Kenneth R. H. Mackenzie, Esq. — The Art of Instructing
Deaf and Dumb. By John Pauncefort Arrowsmith, Esq.
From The Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, U.S. — The Ame-
rican Naturalist, vol. i.
From The Institute — Proceedings of Essex Institute, vol. v. No. 1.
From the Editor — Archiv fvir Anthropologic, vol. iii, part 3.
From the Author — Vaccination, and its tested effects ; or Health,
Morality, and Population. By Dr. Charles Pearce.
From the Institute — Journal of the Royal United Service Institute,